It’s that time of year when graduations are happenings. All high schools in Carroll County will graduate their seniors this week. By Sunday night the seniors will be alumni.

It’s a happy time, a sad time. Graduates are thinking about what they want to do with their lives in the future. Some have very definite plans, some do not.

I read something that really stuck with me the other day concerning what author Tim Mercer wrote about five tips to stop fear from blocking your path to success.

“Fear, more than anything else, is what keeps most of us from succeeding,” says Mercer. “It stops us from going after opportunities we’re prepared for, and it keeps us from even preparing ourselves for opportunities. We can fear failure and success all at the same time, for a variety of different reasons.

  • • Accept that a little fear is useful. “The proverbial thorns in your flesh – fear and anxiety – keep you humble,” Mercer says. “That fear and anxiety some experience will likely never go away completely. And if it does, it may not be such a good thing. Fear means that you still care. It keeps you sharp and engaged.”
  • Don’t run from the bully. Mercer says fear needs to be tackled head-on from the time it enters one’s mind. “Otherwise, it will become a debilitating problem that distracts from your work and ability to focus on solving problems,” he says. “Fear is like a bully in school. You can’t run from that bully forever, because he’s going to keep harassing you. It’s the same thing with fear. The harder you try to run away from it, the worse it gets. You have to attack it directly.”
  • Know what F.E.A.R. stands for. Mercer says there’s a great acronym for fear: false evidence appearing real. “The fear of the unknown really boils down to not knowing enough about the situation,” he says. “That’s why so many of us often find ourselves feeling anxious about our future, because it’s ultimately a complete unknown. When false evidence about what may happen appears real to us, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a viable solution to the dilemma. Fear stalls our progress by clouding our judgment and leading us off our path to greatness.”
  • Fight fear with knowledge. The most effective weapon against fear is knowledge, Mercer says. “Whether it be related to an individual or company, my finances, a business concept that’s foreign to me, legal issues, or something else, I try to do as much homework as I can until I feel more comfortable with the situation,” he says. “Knowledge is confidence, and while confidence may not be the complete absence of fear, it certainly helps you control it.”
  • Don’t be consumed by material success. “When you achieve great success, you obviously don’t want to lose what you have worked so hard to gain,” Mercer says. “And that desire to hold on to what you have built can become a crippling source of fear – a fear of loss – if you are not careful and begin to value the material things in your life too much.”

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